I took a little liberty with the line from that Chicago song for the title of this post because, it is Wednesday (not Saturday), I was in the Park and if I'm not very much mistaken today IS the Fourth of July. So if there are any irate Chicago fans out there... well, just deal, okay, no offense is meant.
Typically the Fourth of July is not a happy, fun day for me. It's my father's birthday and that always meant trouble when I was growing up. Holidays of any kind were an occasion for my parents and relatives (if they were speaking and around) to drink. And drinking meant the nastiness was coming. More drinking meant violence was brewing. Put angry drunks together, throw in a birthday, general life dissatisfaction and fireworks and you've got yourself one helluva "party". So the Fourth of July has never been a great day for me.
Today, however, was an AMAZINGLY FUN DAY! Which just goes to show you that no matter how much bad may have come before, there is always the opportunity for change, for redirection, and for making better memories than you may have stored up on your internal hard-drive. (Lord I'm geeky)
Miss X's Mom and I were meeting at the gym this morning. We were going to be good and work out and then have a nice vegan lunch (my friends are so accommodating!). Go us! But the gym was a mad house. Apparently everyone on the Upper East Side who had the day off decided to also be 'good' so we decided to leave the gym and take a walk to Central Park figuring the gym would be cleared out somewhat by the time we got back. Instead we ended up walking in the park for an hour and a half and in the conversation I mentioned how I had never seen the Central Park Carousel. I mean really. It's one thing to live here and not do all the tourist things, but it's another thing to have never even SEEN the tourist things! So Miss X's Mom showed me where they hide that carousel! Seems she's always wanted to ride it but never has, so we did it! Luckily she had some cash on her because I had a cell phone and an iPod and that's it, so she treated us both to a ride. These photos were taken on a moving carousel with a cell phone, so the quality is not terrific but I felt compelled to share any way!
I was a-scairt! Here I am clutching on to the pole and laughing off the terror. I have not been on a carousel in decades and even when I was a kid I never actually rode one of the moving horses. Fear of heights, the moving up and down thing. . . just wasn't happening for me. I have, of course, been on carousels before - carousels themselves are not inherently scary rides - but I have only ever sat in the stationary bench-type seats or on the non-piston-powered duck. I liked the duck, but it was not nearly as cool as the brave kids riding up and down and all around on those tall horses.
Today, I rode a carousel horse for the first time ever. I have to say: pretty f-ing cool. Please note the faint hint of terror.
Miss X's Mom felt no such fear.
I hope she will not fret this picture being up, but as it is SO blurry that she's pretty unidentifiable, I thought it would be okay to post it. I wanted it up here because the one part that is clear is her big happy smile - and that's how I was feeling myself - on the INSIDE though the terror was plain on the outside!
I got over the fear after the first merry go 'round and we were screaming with laughter. We sat where there were no kids, but then a 10 year old and her mother got on and sat in front of us. That kid shot us more dirty looks in a three-minute ride than I get from my dog in a week. And I get a LOT of dirty looks from the dog. Well, kid, wait until YOU turn ... um... 21... and want to ride the carousel. THEN see how it feels!
We waved at the crowd like the Queen(s) of England. Because we're dorks. And because it was funny. So what if no one else got the joke. We thought it was funny.
After the carousel we had a fabulous lunch at Gobo where I had some seriously delicious ginger seitan and Miss X's Mom had the best looking veggie burger I've ever seen. I would have taken photos, but I totally forgot. I guess the carousel spun the thinking cap right off my head. (Man... I really AM a geek).
I have to thank Miss X's Mom so much for the carousel ride and the great Vegan lunch - this was the best Fourth of July, or rather Independence Day, I've ever had and I intend to rework every holiday I hate for the bad memories into a day like this one. My life: My memories. I want happy, good ones to overshadow the bad ones. A day of spur of the moment silliness proves that everything is possible.
Happy Independence Day!!! I wish you all as many wonderful friends as I am blessed with.